Is it safe to take prescription medications when in recovery for alcohol or drug addiction? What is a good approach to medications during recovery?

When sickness threatens with fever, coughing, aches and pains, going through a surgery, or undergoing drug or alcohol detox, taking medications in recovery can be an unclear territory. Those who struggle with mental health conditions also face anxiety, not knowing what medications are safe and what has the potential to inspire cravings.

While the dialogue about medications between physicians and mental health doctors continues, treating addiction to substances is as much about coming to terms with why people become addicted as it is about abstinence.

People choose sobriety because it offers a better way of life, not so they can live completely sequestered from the realities of the world. When facing illness, surgery or long-term care for mental health issues, it is important to do your homework on the medications which are out there and what is being recommended.

Being honest and working with a doctor, evaluating different options will help each individual to find the right medications to suit his/her needs.

With the growing number of people entering treatment programs for addiction to prescription drugs, it’s important to be educated about chemical ingredients, even with over the counter medications.

Remember alcohol, while sold to anyone over a certain age is highly addictive, some cough syrups, Pseudoephedrine or Dextromethorphan based products and most sleep aids are frequently misused and can be dangerous to individuals in sobriety.

Benadryl, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, dietary energy supplements, Ambien, Ativan, Librium, Lunesta, Sonata, Valium and Xanax are all highly addictive; and for the conditions, these medications treat, alternative non-narcotic treatments are available.

The Drug Enforcement Administration found prescription opioids and stimulants are responsible for more overdose deaths than illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamines combined. Research into new mental health and pain treatment options is ongoing.

Keep in mind sobriety is about re-orienting the perception of medications’ use. With a solid program, anyone can face situations like taking medication in recovery as necessary without fear or anxiety.

The key is to educate yourself and treat your health and sobriety at the same time, providing an opportunity to receive the most up to date and effective healing treatments available.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.